Yorkshire Times
Weekend Edition
Ian Garner
Business Writer
12:00 AM 8th June 2024

It’s All About Mindset

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay
Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay
There’s a poem called ‘thinking’ by Walter D. Wintle, a poet who lived in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It goes like this:

"If you think you are beaten, you are. If you think you dare not, you don't. If you like to win but think you can't, it is almost certain you won't.

If you think you'll lose, you're lost. For out of the world, we find success begins with a fellows' will. It's all in the state of mind.

If you think you are outclassed, you are. You've got to think high to rise; you've got to be sure of yourself before you can ever win a prize.

Life's battles don't always go to the stronger or faster man; but sooner or later the man who wins is the man who thinks he can."

A good leader should have knowledge and skills, which are often acquired through experience, but to be a great leader, you must have an excellent mindset.

The Institute of Directors describes mindset as 'the attitude that shapes a leader's responses and behaviours.'

Mindsets are the views leaders take to shape the information they absorb and use to make sense of the situations they encounter and navigate the way forward. In essence, mindsets are what leaders adopt to resolve issues and create opportunities.

To give an example, two leaders face a situation, but they may respond very differently.

The first leader might see it as an opportunity to learn and develop, whereas leader number two might see it as a threat that undermines their authority.

They will handle the situation very differently and most likely achieve different outcomes.

The main elements of mindset are:

Leadership: Peter Drucker, the American management consultant, educator, and author, described leadership this way – “Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.”

Influencing: is the ability to influence people or things. It is the power to affect or change how someone or something develops, behaves, or thinks.

Performance-oriented: the extent to which a leader encourages and rewards innovation, high standards, excellence, and performance improvement.

Independent: free from the control or influence of other people and also not subject to control by others.

Aware of self and others: If you're highly self-aware, you can objectively evaluate yourself, manage your emotions, align your behaviour with your values, and understand the impact on others. Being aware of others means seeing things through their eyes, understanding their perspectives, and taking them into consideration.

There has been research that shows that mindset is a bigger predictor of success than knowledge or skills. Great leaders achieve most by having a positive mindset and perseverance in the face of challenges.

Image by Pete Linforth from Pixabay
Image by Pete Linforth from Pixabay
Our mindset determines the way we deal with tough situations and setbacks, as well as our willingness to deal with and improve ourselves. Leaders with a negative attitude taint their entire outlook on life and dramatically decrease their ability to succeed.

People with a positive mindset don’t ignore life's less pleasant situations. Positive thinking just means that you approach unpleasantness in a more positive and productive way. You think the best is going to happen, not the worst.

We need to make sure we're all working together to change mindsets, to change attitudes, and to fight against the bad habits that we have as a society.
Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau

This applies just as much to a business organisation as it does to a nation.

Someone gave me the following advice:

Stop worrying, give rest to the problems weighing you down, lighten up, forgive yourself, and forgive others.

Ian Garner
Ian Garner
Ian Garner is a retired Fellow of the Chartered Management Institute (FCMI) and the Institute of Directors (FIoD).

Ian is a board member of Maggie’s Yorkshire. Maggie’s provides emotional and practical cancer support and information in centres across the UK and online, with their centre in Leeds based at St James’s Hospital.

He is the founder and director of Practical Solutions Management, a strategic consulting practice, and is skilled in developing strategy and providing strategic direction, specialising in business growth and leadership.